Rocky Mountain Profiles - Nervous Passenger

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Canadian Border crossing with a nervous passenger

Or Nervous Nellie


I swear this story is true. If I am ever asked to prove it, I do have a witness I can produce. Those of you that know me will understand that the names have been changed to protect the guilty.


A few years back I was traveling with a good friend whom also was a nervous passenger. I will call him Daxx to protect his guilt.  We were on a trip to Alaska from Colorado. We decided to take the ALCAN highway as one of our adventures. We also decided to visit Skagway Alaska via roads. Anyone familiar with traveling to Skagway in a Jeep will know that you must cross the border to and from Canada.


Now being that I had done this trip before I was aware of the Gun laws in Canada and $10,000 question you are frequently asked. My Jeep was cleaned out of all guns and ammo before I left home. So that should not be a problem. I have never been known to carry $10,000 in cash so there was little danger of that being an issue.


Okay back to the story. We had crossed the borders several times already with no problems. The usual questions, the searching of our faces by the border guards for possible lies. I had noticed that Daxx was always nervous when we pulled up to a border crossing. We had talked about border crossings before we started, and I assured him that all he needed was a passport and a smile and we would be okay. We even discussed that if Daxx had some type of criminal record there are exemptions that can be obtained. If you knew Daxx you would know he is not a criminal.


Apparently, I was not convincing enough as he kept telling me of horror stories he had heard. Daxx is from Minnesota. It seems some Minnesotans had some trouble when trying to cross the border. I suspect it was because of a dui offense. If I was to believe Daxx these people had minor traffic violations and other misdemeanors and were promptly thrown in a Canadian Jail when they reached the border. Daxx kept repeating, “Yeah it is true, Harvey told me and he heard it from Albert who got it from Fred who overheard it from Charlie. “


We had just left Skagway on the Klondike highway and were headed up White Pass. Yes, we were in the US heading straight for the Canadian Border. I could feel the tension growing in Daxx as we ambled up the pass. It was like a haze hanging in the Jeep. He started to get fidgety and so I looked at him and said, “Just sit there and don’t say anything unless they ask you personally to answer. I will handle all the questions.”  


Daxx nodded his head in agreement.


Why not, I thought to myself, we got nothing to worry about. I even gave the same advice to the back seat. There was a car ahead of us, so we waited our turn. As I pulled up a guard stood in front of the Jeep as if to block our path. Nothing unusual about that, but it set Daxx off.  Then another guard came up on the driver’s side.


I had all off our Passports in my hand, so I passed them to the guard by my side. By this time Daxx was rocking back and forth in his seat and almost jumping up and down. Pretty obvious to the guards that Daxx was nervous. I was just hoping he would not say anything.

The guard was smiling and asked in a mild voice, “Do you have any firearms”? Before I could answer Daxx was declaring every weapon he owns, and he owns a lot, and then ending by saying. “but those are all back home I don’t have any with me”.


What happened to “don’t say anything”?


I was promptly told to pull the vehicle into the space alongside the building. Leave the keys and enter the guard station. Once we got inside they asked the $10,000 question. Before I could say no, Daxx was emptying his pockets cleaning out his wallet, adding up everything he bought in Alaska and brought with himself to make sure he was under the $10,000 limit.


It didn’t stop there as you can imagine. Every time Daxx opened his mouth they tore my jeep further apart. When I finally got my keys back and was told I could go to my car it was in shambles. All the luggage had been open and searched and not repacked. Every package of trinkets and souvenirs we had purchased in Skagway was opened and inspected, and Every inch of the Jeep was inspected. They conveniently laid my pistol gun case, the one they found empty under my seat, on the driver’s seat.


Given the circumstances, and pasted sins forgiven, Daxx was really an excellent traveling companion.


Although I sure wish the guards had repacked for us.