On the road again, this time with some new shades!
Would you believe it I am back in the USA again.
Last Tuesday I happened to have a chat on facebook with a friend who mentioned that he and a group of friends were heading to Joe's Valley for some climbing. This made me quite jealous as I love Joe's and was wanting to go back but was not sure if and when I could. So after a day of thinking I decided that in order to save my sanity, and believe me it was close to being totally lost, I would make an attempt to get back over the border into the US. I was not sure if they would let me in as I was refused an extension to my visa, but thought that it was worth the try just to get away from the rain.
I left Vancouver on Wednesday morning and said a sort of goodbye to my hosts. I was feeling very nervous and my stomach was full of butterflies, which is never a good sign. The drive to the border is only about an hour so if I did have to come back there was not too much driving involved.
I arrived at border patrol about 11am and after my brief explanation of why I was wanting to visit to check point guard I was swiftly told to go inside and speak to some officers. Inside the guard was very straight faced but polite and asked many questions about why, where etc. He then had a search of my car and came back in with some of my folders of paper work and note books that he had found in my bag. He took them to his desk and looked through them, then took them to his supervising officer where they both looked and pointed and talked about me. Eventually after about 2 hours of sitting and waiting I was told that they would not let me in until they had some more evidence that I could support myself on my trip financially, had something back home that I would need to go back for eg my house and have a flight booked home. So after another hour of getting finger prints and mug shots taken they let me leave and go back to Canada. As I was being escorted back to my car the poker faced officer suddenly turns to me and in a terrible Scottish accent asks me what Clan I am from!?! Slightly bemused and hacked off I say "pardon". He continues with the accent and proceeds to tell me that on his mothers side he has McPherson connections, blah, blah, blah. In order to be polite I just reply with "my clan is Harvey." and drive off.
I returned back to Vancouver and managed to keep my Dad up till early morning scanning various pieces of paper work that we thought would help my case. I then had to book a flight home something I have been trying to avoid for as long as possible. The problem with this was what date. If they did not let me in, and at this point there were no guarantees, I would have to leave Canada by the 26th August as my 6 months there would be up. If they did let me in my exit date from there would be different. Dilemma. The flights were quite expensive so I did not want to risk booking a flight at a later date and then not be able to use it, so I eventually booked a flight for the 23rd August. I am slightly disappointed with this date as I really wanted to fly home on the 1st September so it would be exactly a year since I left, but beggars can't be choosers.
The next day armed with my life in a folder I returned to the border. Thankfully one of the officers that had dealt with me the day before was on duty so I did not have to explain my situation from the start. It took about an hour and a half for them to process and finally decide that they would let me back in, but I made it. They even stamped my passport for 6 months, which makes my date to fly home even more annoying.
Finally across the border I could start my long drive through Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and finally into Utah. This journey was made all the more exciting because I got caught in a snow storm driving through a high pass somewhere in Washington. The pass was open if you had snow chains and since it was early in the day and I really wanted to get going I had to turn around and find a shop that sold some chains. I got my chains and headed back to find that the pass was now closed. I joined the many other cars and trucks waiting to get over the pass and put on my chains in preparation. After about an hour or so the traffic started to move. I had driven about 400m or so and realised that the snow had actually mostly melted and with the final words of the man in the auto store ringing in my head "your tyres will explode if you drive with them on a normal road". So I pulled over and took them off, hoping that the whole road would be back to normal. It was. I probably should have just waited the storm out rather than spend the $40 on chains but sometimes my impatience to get somewhere overrides everything else.
I drove until about 11pm and then stopped at a motel for the night to catch a few zzz's. I had a bit of a weird dream that night so did not sleep very well but after a shower and some breakfast was refreshed and started on my way again.
I was just going to keep driving straight through to Joe's but after hitting gnarly Friday night rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City, I decided to take up the offer of a couch for the night with my friends Rocco and Mary. They were going out that evening to a friends birthday at the local bowling alley so I tagged along for a fun evenings entertainment.
On Saturday morning we all loaded up and headed to Joe's. I have had a fun few days back here and am looking forward to hopefully sending a few problems that I did not manage on my last trip here.
So what are my plans now? Well I am not really sure. At the moment all I know is that I will be home on the 24th August and I will be back in Canada at some point because I have yet to climb in Squamish, there are places I want to visit in good weather and I need to sell my car. So for now as ever I will wing it. I seem to be getting quite good at that.
Photos by Caroline Harvey.