Questions at the Border

Bar Harbor was the first stop in our road trip that lingered with me even after we were hours away.

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During one of our chats with the live pianist, we learned that Bar Harbor holds a Night Sky Festival every year as part of an effort to eliminate light pollution. According to the Acadia Night Sky Festival website, Acadia National Park is one of the few remaining places in the eastern United States where star-filled night skies can be seen in all their magnificence.

Naturally, this planted the desire to want to visit Bar Harbor again during the festival dates.

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A little over six hours separated us from our next destination, the one you have all been waiting for, Prince Edward Island! If you don’t have a clue as to why this might be a place worthy of excitement, you clearly did not read Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables novels as a child.*

*I highly recommend them for your daughters. They will change their lives, make them better daughters, sisters, wives, and just plain, good human beings!

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Though our view from Maine into Canada held breathtaking views, it eventually became rather monotonous…especially when hunger began to strike. Rest stops in northern Maine are literally rest stops, many without even basic toilet facilities.

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The less picturesque view that caused boredom to set in.

I couldn’t even sleep because the determination to spot a moose, hopefully a moose pack, forced me to gaze with wide eyed hope into the distance.

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While protein bars, hotel fruit, and other snacks were within the confines of our car, I was reaching that point where such food would pretty much only make me hungrier.*

*Please tell me you understand.

Before the border we reached our only food option: McDonald’s. And though I probably hadn’t eaten at a McDonald’s in over six months, I embraced that golden arch as if it were a long lost family member.

It was quite fortunate that we chose to disregard our usual need to eat from a non chain, non fast food place, because after this 2 pm food stop we wouldn’t enjoy a real meal until the following day.

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But before I tell of that unfortunate tale, let me share with you our experience crossing the border.

This was the one and only day I drove during our trip.

When employing border patrol members, Canada must look for the most emotionless Canadians available. The man I was faced with did not smile or produce any indication that he was happy to be alive. Here is how our interaction went down, and I promise, I have not embellished this in any way shape or form. Our border patrol man will be known as “Smiley”.

Smiley: Please remove your sunglasses and open the back window.

Me: (Smiling and immediately scrolling all windows down, even the ones on the passenger side).

Smiley: Where are you headed?

Me: Prince Edward Island.

Smiley: What for?

Me: Vacation.

Smiley: Have you ever been to PEI before?

Me: No.

Smiley: Have you ever been to Canada before?

Me: Yes.

Smiley: Where? When?

Me: Niagara. Twice, somewhere around three and four years ago.

Smiley: What line of work are you in?

Me: I’m unemployed, and he’s an accountant.

Smiley: What did you do before?

Me: I was a teacher.

Smily: Aside from clothes, do you have anything else you are bringing into Canada?

Me: Ummm…coffee?

Smiley: Nothing else?

Me: No.

Smiley: Alcohol or tobacco?

Me: No.

Smiley: No alcohol or tobacco?

Me: (Again) No.

Smiley: Any firearms, mace, or pepper spray?

Me: No.

Smiley: So you know, firearms, mace, or pepper spray are not allowed to be brought into Canada.

Me: **Silence**

Smiley: Are you visiting anyone here and bringing any items to them?

Me: No.

Smiley: Pull ahead.

A few minutes after the rough questioning of Mr. Smiley, I then saw this sign:

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And I was fairly certain that Canada was toying with me.*

*The fact that I did not see any moose during our time in Canada further confirmed my suspicions.

We reached Confederation Bridge (which goes to PEI) as the sun was setting and my body was aching to be finished with driving.

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Amidst trying to navigate a poorly downloaded map of the area, we quickly learned that most of PEI closes early.

Including most food options.

Suddenly those protein bars began looking extremely tasty.

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