Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Off to Alberta

Jeanette left for Edmonton yesterday.  She'll be away for one week.  She spent last evening assisting our daughter, Ginette with the Christmas tree. 

On the home front here on the coast, we are counting down the days for our departure to the sunnier climes of southern California, Arizona and Texas.  We received our motorcycle assist lift - called a swivel wheel -  http://www.cruiserlift.com/swivelwheel58.html
last Wednesday.  With the help of two of my neighbours, we installed the wheel on the motorcycle deck, installed and connected the lights, and figured out the hitch receiver assembly system.  It is a well thought out motorcycle deck that is a direct connect into the receiver of the 5th wheel.  It works as a direct extension to the existing 5th wheel frame. Refer to the WEB site and you will find all the required information on this swivel wheel system.

That sums things up from here.

Wishing you a productive day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look What We Woke Up To!!!

Well, old man winter decided to change our topographic colours today.  Our landscape was transformed from green to white.  I can count on one hand the number of times we've had snow in November, here on the west coast, in the past 30 years.
The storm began last evening near 10:00 pm and continued through till about 2:00 am this morning.  Very pretty indeed.
 A lot of this snow has already started to melt.  More snow possible on Sunday.  We'll see.  The best part about this is that it will not last and the greenery will return.

Wishing you a very pleasant day.

Henry Miller: Quote of the Day
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Detained but not arrested @ the US border

It's interesting how a calm ordinary day can turn into an international incident at the US/Canada border.

Here's the scoop:

As some of you know, our F-350 dually diesel truck was returned to us late in the afternoon of November 16th - following repairs and exactly one month to the day it was stolen from our driveway.  Because the auto thief drove it better than 500 km, there was no diesel left in the tank when it was returned to us.  So yesterday near 12:00 noon I headed south (all 3km) to the US border (Peace Arch Border Crossing) to purchase diesel fuel.  As a NEXUS pass holder, I proceeded in the lane, scanned the card, was about to proceed to the border guard station when the guard instantly jumped out of his booth and commanded me to stop.  I did!  I thought it odd but was not fazed by it.  Odd things do happen at the border.

After a few moments of waiting, the officer guided me to drive forward and when I stopped he immediately took the NEXUS card from my hand, had me stop the engine and hand over the keys. He sternly advised me to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times or face being led in handcuffs to a dark place somewhere.  I still had no idea why this was happening till he stated that I was driving a stolen vehicle.  A few words on his radio brought another US border guard to the lane I was in.  The other guard stood in front of my truck. I again was told to keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel where the officers could see them and also told not to move! Whoa!!!  What the heck was going on here?

A few minutes later all of my vehicle registration documents were taken.  I was given the ignition keys and instructed to drive to another secure area.  Another officer told me to leave the truck - with the keys in the ignition - and proceed to US Immigration.  That's where the real fun began.

Once inside the immigration office, I was faced with a long lineup. I was certain to be  facing a one hour wait before being interrogated.  Because I was a suspected auto thief my name was called and I was quickly pulled out of the line.  Standing in front of a new border guard I was made to answer a barrage of questions.  I was told that I was lucky that I was not sprawled out (spread eagle is the term I believe he used) and handcuffed at the booth.  I started to laugh.

For those folks who know me well, I do not normally react well to stupidity.  As hard as it may be for some to believe, I can be argumentative.  To paint a picture of how ridiculous the numerous conversations went would require a lot of finger action on my keyboard.  Suffice it to say that it was a gong show.  Several times the officers placed their hand on their gun.  It's an intimidation tactic.  That simply doesn't not work with me.  I said something to the effect that although I may have been born at night, it was not last night.  The officers (two of them) kind of played good cop / bad cop.  Another stupid game, in my view. I knew that the US Immigration knew that it was the rightful owner who was driving my truck.  I have been through that border crossing on numerous occasions. I mentioned that my truck had been stolen but that it had been returned to me the previous evening.  That was one month to the day after it had been stolen and once all body shop and mechanical repairs had been completed. The officer asked why I had not closed the RCMP stolen vehicle file.  I explained that my truck had been recovered three (3) days after it was stolen.  I explained that the RCMP had called my home on the evening of October 18, 2010 and released the vehicle back to me.  The RCMP also stated it would not investigate the theft.  The RCMP never mentioned that I had to clear the stolen  vehicle file.  I understand that once the stolen vehicle is returned to its rightful owner, the police file is cleared. The officer threatened to send me back to Canada and also stated that I would not be allowed back into Canada because I was driving a stolen truck.  Once again I laughed.  What a buffoonery of ridiculousness!!! I said I would take my chances but also asked if he could possibly call Canada Customs to let them know that I was coming back.  So the 'good cop' took over and offered to call the RCMP on my behalf.  Finally something positive could come from this?

So....as it turns out, the RCMP officer who had handled our stolen truck file forgot to remove the file from the CPIC (no idea what that stands for) computer file.  Although our truck had been returned to us, it was still reported as stolen.  That comedy of errors and the stupidity of being falsely accused at the US border - and the subsequent detention of over 90 minutes - was the result of a negligent RCMP officer who failed to do his/her job.

With my name cleared at US Immigration, the 'good cop' had me over to his work station again and proceeded to "clear my name."  Before I was allowed to leave the USA and once the computer files had been corrected, I was assured that I was once again a person in good standing and that I was free to enter the USA anytime.  I was sent off with a friendly gesture.  So....good came from a bad experience.  Ho Hum.  So my name was cleared and my short record as an auto thief was expunged.  Not to be!

When I returned to Canada Customs NEXUS line, guest what?    Yes, my NEXUS card was once again removed from me and I was directed to park in a secure area.  I was told that I was driving a stolen vehicle and that I could be apprehended.  Ho Hum!....here we go again.

I was given the evil eye and ushered into Canada Customs where a very nice female officer began to question me.  I recounted my experience at US Customs.  She seemed compassionate.  She listened then quickly typed into her computer.  After several minutes I was told that she had accessed US Immigration headquarters in Virginia and she could see that my name had been cleared.  She still insisted that I had to clear my name in Canada.  So the process began.  It did not take too long before she accessed CPIC (still do not know what that stands for) and discovered that the RCMP - following the call by US Immigration - had cleared my name.  So....I was politely handed the 'get out of jail free card'. I was free to go.

That said, I spent two (2) hours being detained in both the US Immigration and Canada Customs because an RCMP officer failed to remove our truck from their 'stolen vehicle' CPIC file.  The innocent suffer for the lack of due diligence on the part of others.

This was a clear case of having to prove my innocence. The buffoonery of what I experienced is why I started to laugh in the first place.  Without any of my doing I created an international incident ....and had to endure the wrath of law enforcement because one officer of the law did not input one little note in an RCMP file.  I was guilty and was made to prove my innocence.  What a day - what an experience!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Truck is back!

Yes, our F-350 dually diesel is back.  It was returned to us exactly one month to the day it was stolen last October. A comedy of errors required our careful diligence to get every bit of damage repaired.  One insurance adjuster was incredibly incompetent.  A new adjuster jumped in on this file and all went swimmingly after that.  The dually has finally been returned looking as good as new.  It now has a new immobilizer (and some other goodies too).  Will that keep the perps away?  We can only hope so.

Short blog today.....with so many things to do.

St. Augustine 
"The world is a book and those that do not travel read only one page."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not too much hapening....

Not much to report today.  Our beloved BC Lions football club fought hard, long and to the bitter end.  Way to go LIONS! Despite the loss it was a great finish to an awkward first half of the season with a brilliant second half of the season.  

Still waiting to hear if our dually will be ready for return to us following one month of body and electrical repairs since it was stolen from our driveway.  I'll post more photos in the coming days.

Enjoy your day.
Dreams of the sunnier climes in the southwestern US

Friday, November 12, 2010

Truck scheduled for release on Monday

We woke up to a beautiful west coast fall day.  The sun is shinning but the weather prognosticators are calling for gray skies and showers for the coming days.

Wondering why I included the photo below?   It is the work of the auto thieves who stole our truck recently.
Some of you know that our F-350 Ford dually diesel truck was stolen last October 16, 2010.  The perpetrators damaged the door locks and ignition system.  It was, according to the RCMP, a professional job.  Every conceivable item in the truck was taken.  Our GPS, Motorola two way radios, camping guide books, maps, travel diary, emergency light, CD case with over 60 CDs, garage door opener, every pen and paper and more were removed.  The truck had been driven well over 500 km before it was dumped in the urban forest near our home.  Once the insurance company confirmed the drive system was OK, the body work began.  There were numerous dents and a bent bumper to repair, aside from numerous scratches. 

The thieves drove it hard - in 4X4 - through scrub trees and brush.  
The entire vehicle was scratched....and the mud flaps were damaged.

The perps also slashed one dually tire.

The good news is that the truck has been repaired and once the new tires are installed it will be detailed and returned to us.  The stolen items have now been replaced.

We have never had anything stolen from us prior to this.  It's a shock!  It's invasive! It is a huge waste of time and energy - not to mention the cost to increasing insurance rates.  The RCMP chose not to fingerprint the vehicle.  These crooks cause havoc - emotional and financial - yet our justice system fails to investigate, apprehend, and to severely punish these perps.  

So...we have beefed up the security system with a new immobilizer and some other pretty cool - crook resistant - technologies.  According to those in the automotive industry, any deterrent is simply that; a deterrent.  The experienced thieves know how to foil any anti theft device.  

The good news is that the truck will be returned to us on Monday or Tuesday and we can continue to plan for our ADD (anticipated date of departure).  

We hope the truck comes back looking like this!!!

Wishing you a good day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The first of many!

This is the first of what we believe will be a continuous story of our Voyageur Journey.   This January, 2011, will be our first go at half time RV'ing.  We plan to travel south to the sunnier climes of California, Arizona and Texas during our rainy months here on the Canadian west coast.

This blog will let family, friends, followers and the curious follow our path.

More to come.