The trip from Arkona, Ontario to St. Clair, MI involves crossing back into the United States. It’s a short distance of about 50 miles but it’s takes us a few hours. The ride is pretty smooth until we reach the bridge over Lake Huron that is the border between the US and Canada. Here traffic is at a standstill.

We sit for a long time and it’s getting hot inside the coach. As we inch toward the gates, Parry switches lanes and ends up taking us to a booth that has two guards, one who appears to be a border patrol guard in training. I begin to suspect we may get a more thorough examination than we anticipated.

Parry tries being friendly with the guards but he gets no response. The seasoned guard tells us they’re coming aboard and Trainee and Instructor climb into the coach. They to do a walk through and everything goes smoothly until they reach the bathroom. In the bathtub, they find our plants and the seasoned guard tells us the plants will have to be inspected by the FDA before we can cross the border.

She tells us to pull over to a set of buildings on the left, then she and her trainee depart. Parry freaks. I try to calm him down as he pulls into the designated parking spot for inspection but he’s having a big ‘attitude’ attack. We’re told to exit the coach and move into the facility. Parry’s hates leaving the coach unlocked and unattended and he’s not afraid to vocalize it loudly as we walk towards the building. I keep trying to calm him down, knowing how out of control and illogical he can get when he lets his emotions take over.

Inside the building we find a long line of people waiting to be processed. We get in line but we’re called ahead of everyone else to a friendly looking uniformed person sitting behind the counter on the other side of the room. She begins by asking us to declare any fruits, vegetables, animals and plants that we have on board. We disclose what we have and she tells us that the plants will have to be destroyed unless we can prove we didn’t buy them in Canada.

I tell her that we sold our house to go on the road and took clippings from each of our house plants so they could come along with us. Some of the plants I’ve been nursing for over 25 years.

She leaves to go do the inspection and Parry gets paranoid that they might take something other than plants. I’m more worried about the plants or even worse that they’ll tear the whole place apart and leave a big mess.

The inspector returns within a few minutes and tells us that she has made an executive decision not to destroy our plants but she is taking our grapes. She explains what we need to do in the future to protect the plants from being taken at the border.

I’m totally relieved that the plants are safe but Parry is angry about the grapes and starts to get mouthy with the inspector. I grab his arm and get him out of there before she changes her mind.



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