Fayston, Vermont. For the first time in many years, my summer calendar is OPEN. Blank spaces for days and days. No work, at least not much. No events. At least none that I HAD to attend. No obligations. At least none that I’m aware. So when my mom asked me to visit her back home in Minnesota instead of her flying East, I said o.k.
What if I drove? I posed this question out loud one evening last March when my son was home from college. He said if I drove, he’d go, too. What? Really?! He said we could take our cameras and make a road trip out of it. Over the next several weeks, I kept asking him if he still wanted to go. I expected he’d think about all those hours in the car with mom and change his mind. He didn’t.
Well, you can’t leave me with three dogs all that time, said my husband. I can’t take them all to work with me.
Which one don’t you want to take to work? I asked. Lucy was his answer.
So now my trip home is a two-week road trip with my son Erik and dog Lucy on a route that will take us through Niagra Falls and a bit of Ontario. After several days with mom in Minnesota, Lucy, Erik and I will meet up with my dad and stepmom in Door County, Wisconsin before looping back through Ontario then Montreal, Quebec, then home to Vermont. I used the on-line AAA TripTik route planner, which made the task very simple.
Preparations have preoccupied me for weeks. I researched and read Canadian and U.S. information about crossing the border with a dog: Dogs must be in good health and a rabies certificate from the vet must be presented to the border agent along with payment of a $30 fee. I coordinated our plans with my parents, finalized our route, and then made hotel reservations at pet-friendly places that welcome bigger dogs. I also needed to attend to other travel details: obtaining a copy Lucy’s vet records (that was easy – thank you Dr. Roy’s office); arranging an oil change for my car; emptying a ridiculous amount of old photo files from my computer to make room for new photo files; changing some money so I have Canadian funds to pay the pet fee at the border; and shopping for a new pair of sneakers.
The car is packed. My camera battery is fully charged. And away we go!
I will post a photo gallery from our trip in next month’s article here on wagmorevt.com. For daily road trip photos, please follow me, @skimor, on Instagram!
3 thoughts on “And away we go”
A border fee for dogs? When did they start that? I was in Canada last year with dogs and there was no fee. Sometime there are issues around dog food, more for Canadians than Americans. Just in case have the dog bag the food came in. Fruit and vegetables, depending on what is in season can be an issue. So last year you couldn’t have blueberries going into Canada in August.
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Hard to tell the details of your trip, but coming back, when you get to Kingston, Ontario – lovely city, get off the 401 highway and take Route 2 along the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Route 2 is very scenic, lovely little towns, not a lot of traffic and you make fairly good time. Then cross at Cornwall border crossing, to Route 37 to 190 to Route 11 to 190 to Plattsburg, NY and take the ferry across the lake to the Islands and home. Going via Montreal is longer and lots of traffic, even with the new bypass. In the past you actually had to go through part of Montreal on the western side. The other route is a very good road, more scenic and relaxing. The ferry ride is always a treat and will save you some time and perhaps a few dollars in gas. Try to avoid popular border crossing on weekends or get there early. There can be long lines, especially at 1000 Island Bridge, that’s why I do Cornwall, which is a bit out of the way of most tourists.
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Thanks for the tips, Nancy! As it turned out, our border crossing was super easy, and the agent didn’t even want Lucy’s medical papers. The usual weapons and food questions were part of his script. Weapons were of more concern, it seemed. (We only packed cameras and a bag of Oreos. Lucy’s bag of food was clearly visible, but he didn’t ask about it.) He did not collect the dog fee. We’ll see if we are charged the fee on our return trip.